Friday, November 20, 2009

Indianapolis (Highway 74) by Sam Shepard

Two souls in limbo collide at holiday Inn and find a little comfort where they least expect.


There is an ongoing theme of loops and characters stuck repeating mindless behavior. Stuart is “crisscrossing the country again without much reason.” He explains how “sometimes places pop into his head and he just goes” Giving us a sense that this is character who is lost and is evading himself and all which is and who are familiar to him. He is caught in a senseless loop repeating his mindless actions with no target or strategy.

Stuart also has social loops by having what he describes as a “bunch” of children with various women. Seemingly not investing in these relationships but constantly creating new ones.

Then there is his dog that is running in a circles in the back of the car. The fear of the storm making him also behave illogically.

There is the senseless loop of violence playing on the television where robbers kill employees who don’t have the key to the safe, but shoot the victims anyway. The receptionist can’t lower the volume or turn the channel because it’s on a computer system she has no control over which makes it an inescapable repetition of events.

Then Becky whose husband kidnapped her daughters and have disappeared is stuck in her own loop of false leads, despair and going from her house to the Holiday Inn.

Two souls collide breaking the impenetrable loop

Becky’s words “I was so in love with you” breaks through all the senseless and mindless loops which hold the characters in a state of compliant and perhaps willful aloofness throwing them into a type of urgent intimacy.

Stuart can no longer maintain his passive uninvolved escapism. He is affected by Becky's words and because of this he feels a need to destroy the televisions, the coffee tables, the lobby and flee but realizes there is no escape to what has been said. Instead, he leaves the hotel and is driven back by the blizzard and by the whirlwind of his emotions that suddenly overwhelm him forcing him to face Becky’s emotions and his feelings.

In the end, Becky's voice causes Stewards façade to shatter and the loop to end.

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